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Here are some of my favorite blogs in the industry:

The Target Report
An overview for buyers and sellers of businesses in the changing and evolving printing and related industries.

Matthew Parker on FESPA
Practical advice for printers from the perspective of a print buyer.

 

Rock Around the Block - The Blog of Rock LaManna

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For 2014, Is It Grow or No-Grow for Printing Owners?

Is it Grow or No-Grow for Printing Owners?

It’s that strategic planning time of the year once again. As the LaManna Alliance assesses our clientele over the past year, we see prospects who fall into two buckets:  Grow or No-Grow.  I’d like to delve into who they are and why one is more successful than the other.

Oh no, it’s No-Grow

Let’s start with No-Grow, which happens to rhyme with No-Go.  No-Grow is the person stuck in full-time devil’s advocate mode.  He or she questions everything – which is healthy – but doesn’t know when the questioning should end and the action begin.

The No-Grow owners refuses to adapt.  It’s far easier to say “No” to new risks and new ideas, and stick to what has worked in the past.  But while business fundamentals may never change, some strategies and tactics do need to be adapted to the new world.

No-Grow is not rational.  Perhaps it’s panic, or anxiety because the world is shifting under his or her feet, but there doesn’t seem to be a formulated decision-making process with No-Grow.  They’re much more impulsive in decision-making.

The default answer is always No with No-Grow, because No will never result in immediate failure like Yes can.  No will only result in a slow, gradual erosion of market share and customer loyalty.  No-Grow fears death, both of the business and the self, but instead of fighting to stay alive, he or she will ignore the problem and hope it goes away.

You Go, Grow

The Grow owner is someone who doesn’t fear change.  Instead, they consider it to be what makes their business sustainable.  They are continuously in search of growth, new ideas, new thinking, new markets and new strategies.  

Grow is not reckless, however.  Grow is well-organized in their business, very systematic.  He or she leans heavily on numeric outputs – quantitative data that helps drive qualitative decision-making.  

Grow is not a ruminator, however.  There is a point where analysis leads to paralysis.  Grow understands that today only lasts so long.  Either you act or the moment passes, and suddenly your profits are slipping and you’re yesterday’s news.

I’m Now Saying No to No-Grow

Before I write another word, I want to assure you that this is a vindictive post where I lash out at the clients who have spurned our advice in the past and proceeded to run themselves into deeper financial straits.

What I’m attempting to do is isolate the different personality types, their behaviors, and tell you that No-Grow is a no-go for success.  The numbers bear this out – believe us, we’ve seen them.

Is this a self-serving post in which I clearly identify the type of clientele the LaManna Alliance wants to work with?  The answer is an emphatic yes. To be honest, this post has been a long time coming.  

I’ve always wanted to bend over backwards to help others in the industry.  Maybe it’s because of my faith, my belief in fellow man.  Or maybe because I feel like part of my purpose in life is to help others who are struggling, because I’ve struggled myself in the past, and others have helped me achieve success.

However, over the last few years, as we’ve worked harder and harder to help even our No-Grow clients, we’ve come to one simple inescapable conclusion:  We can’t help No-Grows.

It’s not because they’re struggling.  Everyone struggles.  Business, relationships, life – it’s all challenging, all a struggle.  Yet Grow views the struggle as a necessary means to an end.  They see it as part of the process.  They want to learn from it, and grow from it.

No-Grow looks at struggles as another excuse to say No.  Another reason to avoid the potential to fail.

It all sounds a bit cliché, but Grow will be the one who will prevail, who will be here long after the No-Grow has crumbled.

Finding Fuel to Grow

We’re going to change a few things at the LaManna Alliance in order to help Grow.

Over the last few years, we’ve worked tirelessly to communicate the benefits of Lean Operations and Family Business conflict resolution.  We’ve tried to help people fix mistakes, and move forward into growth mode.  My post on the LaManna Decision-Making Hierarchy explains how we wanted to move people into the top, profitable regions.

But the No-Grow resisted us.  Whether we didn’t communicate the benefits properly, or if it was because it was simply too difficult for them to admit that what they were doing wasn’t working, it’s unclear.  

Either way, it doesn’t matter.  There comes a time when you have to fire the bad clients, and that time is at hand.  If you’re a No-Grow, then it’s time for us to say No to you.   No more data analysis, no more evading decisions, no more misery.  If you won’t take action, then we can’t help you.

And it’s time to say Yes to Grow.  Yes to people who are only concerned with moving forward in a profitable manner.  Yes to the adrenaline surge that comes with innovating, growing and being successful.

We’re going to reshape our offerings – focusing specifically on Grow-related products and services.  Whether it’s a merger and acquisition, a new recruit, or an opportunity to add bottom line dollars because you’re saving on raw materials, we’re going to share it with you.  

In 2014, the LaManna Alliance is ready to grow Grow like never before.  Strap yourselves in folks, it’s going to be a fun ride.

Photo by: opensourceway

 

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Rock LaManna is the President and CEO of the LaManna Alliance.  The LaManna Alliance helps printing owners and CEOs use their company financials to prioritize and choose the proper strategic transition – including mergers, acquisitions, organic growth, and exit / succession plans.

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